SOUTHLAND “Failure Drill” Review

Southland 'Failure Drill'

SOUTHLAND “Failure Drill” Season 3 Episode 9 –“To protect and to serve, that’s the LAPDs motto. But as most cops will tell you, sometimes you’re lucky if you can just survive.”

I’m not sure if it was perception or actuality, but it felt like we spent a small amount of time with Sammy, Sherman and Cooper this week. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, at least not in Cooper’s case.

It was painful to see him so unlike himself – apathetic and, well, pathetic. As Sherman so deftly pointed out, Cooper has a problem. Because this show has a knack of doing so much with so little, Cooper’s problem was summarized in his first (‘you’re one of my best customers’) and last scenes (‘it’s night, your sunglasses are on’).

It’s a horrible fall from grace, made even worse if you compare the current Cooper to the early season 1 version of the character. His attempts to stay on the streets no matter what seemed noble for a long time but now, popping pills and doing a truly horrendous job, he just seems weak. Will Cooper be able to survive? Or is this the end of his career?

In a wonderfully written counterpoint, Sherman is nine days away from the end of his probationary period and the start of his career. Cooper’s issues were a great way to pass the baton, as it were, and bring Sherman’s character into his own, letting us see how he’s grown from the unsure boot to the stand up cop. He’s going to be fine no matter what, but he cares about what happens to Cooper. And unlike Chickie dealing with Dewey back in season 1, Sherman may just report Cooper to get him the help he needs.

Sammy’s scenes today were brief and I’m not entirely sure where he stands. Last week Mariella, Nate’s wife, decided to move out of town to stay with her parents for a while. This left Sammy alone again. But instead of falling apart he actually seems to be doing pretty well compared to the last few weeks. Is he really okay or is this the calm before the storm? We’ll have to wait and see, but at least Tammi was happy to see Sammy interacting with her boyfriend without trying to kick his head in.

It amazes me how completely pathetic Tammi manages to be. She cheats on Sammy and takes the house and expects him to be fine – that’s bad enough. But then she somehow manages to make matters worse by installing an app on his phone to track him down and then goes to visit him on the job. I disliked the character and her craziness in previous seasons. Now I truly detest her.

Lydia and Josie had the big dramatic scenes of the episode with a shootout at a warehouse/commercial building that showed the introductory narration at it’s most literal. I can’t lie, I was worried about those two women. This season has already shown us that Southland isn’t afraid to kill popular characters, so there was no guarantee that both of them would come out fine and dandy. Of course, Josie didn’t.

The injuries to Josie’s face are thankfully superficial but she didn’t even mention that, a surprise given that she’s usually concerned with her appearance. Instead the scene with her and Lydia in the hospital showed a beautiful vulnerability in her character. While I’m still slow to warm to Josie, I find myself appreciating her more each week.

Lydia went to extremes this week. One the one hand, she was an utter badass. On the other, her love life is hilariously dire. I really wasn’t expecting Rodrigo to be Josie’s son and though I know it’s so, so wrong, he’s a really nice guy. She should go for it. Not that any of us would envy her receiving the wrath of Mama Josie, but still.

‘Failure Drill’ was an understated episode, but it’s set up some great stuff for the season finale next week. Will Cooper crash and burn? Is Sammy finally going to be alright? Will Sherman end his probation without incident? And will Josie find out about Lydia/Rodrigo? See you back here next week!

What did you think of ‘Failure Drill’? Let us know in the comments below!

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